New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, now a four-time champion, was named Super Bowl 49 MVP after throwing for 328 yards and four touchdowns in a wild win over the Seattle Seahawks. Brady is now tied with Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl wins for a quarterback. He also passed Montana for most Super Bowl touchdowns thrown.
The Patriots outlasted the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, in a thrilling back-and-forth game. Brady led a signature game-winning drive that began with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter and New England trailing 24-21. He completed all nine of his pass attempts on the drive, taking more than four minutes off the clock before putting the Patriots up for good with a three-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Julian Edelman.
The Patriots almost had to call for some more Brady magic. The Seahawks had the ball on the New England one-yard line with just 20 seconds left. A stunning interception by defensive back Malcolm Butler sealed a Patriots victory and the Super Bowl 49 MVP award for Brady. Brady was seen celebrating and jumping excitedly on the sideline after the interception.
"We just made one more [play]," Brady told ESPN's Trey Wingo in the locker room.
Some would argue that Brown deserved the MVP honors for making the crucial defensive play. Edelman might have also deserved consideration, with a 109-yard receiving performance. Tight end Rob Gronkowski provided a strong effort, with the Seattle defense struggling to contain him.
But Brady, despite two interceptions, was cool under pressure to keep the Patriots in contention. He completed 37 of his 50 pass attempts for 328 yards. The Patriots would score all four touchdowns in the air, while the running game was almost nonexistent. Running backs LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen combined for just 53 total rushing yards.
It is hard to not give Brady a great deal of credit for making the big plays and finding his receivers. He posted better statistics than previous quarterback MVP winners. In 2013, the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco won the MVP award, and threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns. The New York Giants Eli Manning took home the award the previous year and threw for 296 yards and one touchdown.
Brady was in typical accurate form at University of Phoenix Stadium. He had previously thrown for 367 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens in the divisional playoff game, and 226 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout win agains the Indiananpolis Colts in the AFC Championship. It almost seemed as though it has become routine for the 37-year-old to have a big game.
It was a redemptive win for the Patriots quarterback, who lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in 2007 and 2011 after winning in his first three tries in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The 10-year gap between Super Bowl wins is the longest such span for a starting quarterback, topping Dallas Cowboy legend Roger Staubach’s previous record of six years.
In a postgame interview, Brady acknowledge the perhaps surprising success he has had over the course of long career.
"I could never imagine to win one Super Bowl," said the former sixth-round pick of the 2000 NFL Draft
Brady’s most frequent target on the day was Edelman, the under-sized but crafty wide receiver. The three-yard, game-winning score was a relatively easy pitch and catch on a short route. That sort of play was common occurrence on a day Brady completed 74 percent of his passes.
Brady also completed six passes to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for 68 yards and a touchdown. “Gronk” found the end zone on a lofted pass he caught over shorter Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright. Brady also spread the touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell.
Brady recovered from that blow and more, eventually taking the lead and later bringing the Patriots back from a 10-point deficit fourth quarter deficit. He had enough poise and talent to earn his third Super Bowl MVP award along with his fourth Lombardi trophy. All those accomplishments prompted Wingo to ask Brady to consider if he were in the "greatest quarterback ever" conversation.
"That's never crossed my mind," Brady said.